“We know we have Pastor confirmed for one seat and we know that there are quite a few tasty drivers available out there,” said Gastaldi. “We’re doing everything to ensure that we’ve got a desirable race seat, which needs to be filled.”
Behind the scenes Lotus have endured a troubled season, yet on track have still scored 60 points. And with Renault seeming poised to take over and establish a new works team for 2016, a race seat with the Enstone squad is looking increasingly attractive.
“What happens next is that there’ll be a number of discussions in a number of places, then at some point we’ll have an announcement to make,” continued Gastaldi. “I can at this stage publically confirm that it won’t be me driving!”
Grosjean, who has admitted he may have stayed with Lotus had the Renault negotiations progressed more quickly, said it will be an emotional moment when he finally bids farewell to the team in December - though the Frenchman did not rule out one day returning.
“Part of my heart will absolutely always be with Enstone where I’ve grown and experienced so much over the years” he commented. “I can remember turning up in September 2005 at the front gate, not speaking English and being very shy. Some of the people I met that day are still there.
“I’m turning a new leaf in my book but it doesn’t mean that it’s the end of the book, so why not come back to Enstone one day to become world champion with the team! Leaving Enstone at the end of the season won’t be easy.”
Meanwhile, asked who he would like to see on the other side of the garage next season, Maldonado insisted he has no preference.
“Throughout your career you work with a variety of team mates so you get used to working with different people,” said the Venezuelan. “Ultimately, everyone is trying to make the car faster and perform as well as it can for an event, so you’re all working to the same objectives.”